Daughter by Kate McLaughlin
Released on March 8, 2022
Kate McLaughlin’s Daughter is a thrilling YA novel about trying to right deadly choices that were never yours to begin with.
Scarlet’s life is pretty average. Overly protective mom. Great friends. Cute boy she’s interested in. And a father she’s never known—until she does.
When the FBI show up at Scarlet’s door, she is shocked to learn her father is infamous serial killer Jeffrey Robert Lake. And now, he’s dying and will only give the names and locations of his remaining victims to the one person, the daughter he hasn’t seen since she was a baby.
Scarlet’s mother has tried to protect her from Lake’s horrifying legacy, but there’s no way they can escape the media firestorm that erupts when they come out of hiding. Or the people who blame Scarlet for her father’s choices. When trying to do the right thing puts her life in danger, Scarlet is faced with a choice—go back into hiding or make the world see her as more than a monster’s daughter.
Daughter by Kate McLaughlin is a gripping, haunting, and absolutely mesmerizing YA Thriller about a teenage girl who learns she is the daughter of an incarcerated serial killer. He is dying from cancer and wants to see her before he passes, promising to give the names and locations of his victims yet to be discovered if she comes. This is a story that I just loved. I think it captures all the nuances of this horrific scenario to perfection. I also loved that the author’s inspiration was imagining a life for Ted Bundy’s daughter by his wife, Carol Anne Boone. That fact adds realism to an unimaginable story. The premise and the interaction between Scarlet and her father reminded me a little of Prodigal Son, the tv series, but only faintly in the way she stood up to the monster that’s her father.
I lastly loved the story’s messages, which are very hopeful and inspiring. Scarlet overcomes her debilitating anxiety through the meetings with her father. The strength it took to see him and be in his vicinity made her realize how strong she actually was. Also, the realization that the killer gets more attention than the victims and how that should be reversed provides a strong thread throughout the tale.
The only thing that gave me some niggles is the everybody’s-doing-it attitude toward the teens’ behavior in the story. Every teen is not taking part in drinking, drugs, and sex as cavalierly as presented. But aside from this, the story is one that kept me focused and on my toes from start to finish. It’s told in first person from Scarlet’s POV and is incredibly fast-paced. If you are looking for a compelling story that will haunt you long after you finish, Daughter by Kate McLaughlin is just the novel you want to read next.
Quantum Girl Theory by Erin Kate Ryan
Released on March 8, 2022
Mary Garrett has a gift for finding missing girls, a special kind of clairvoyance she calls “the sight.” Lured by a poster and the promise of a reward, she arrives at a small town in the Jim Crow South to discover that not one but three girls have vanished—two of whom are Black, and whose disappearances have gone uninvestigated outside their own community. She sets out to find them.
As it turns out, Mary is herself a “missing girl.” In another life, she was a Bennington College sophomore named Paula Jean Welden, who disappeared one night in 1946. The case captivated the nation’s imagination, triggering front-page headlines, scores of dubious sightings, and a wave of speculation: Who was Paula Jean, really, and why had she disappeared?
As Mary’s search for the three missing girls intensifies, so do the glimpses of Paula Jean’s other possible lives: She is a circus showgirl hiding from her past, a literary forger on the verge of being caught, a McCarthy-era informant in love with a woman she meets in a Communist cell. With the signals multiplying, the locals beginning to resent her presence, and threats coming from all sides, Mary wonders whether she can trust anyone—most of all herself.
Both a captivating mystery and a powerful thought experiment, Quantum Girl Theory spins out a new way of seeing those who seem to disappear before our eyes.
Quantum Girl Theory by Erin Kate Ryan is a historical mystery mixed with a quantum physics theory resulting in the idea that missing girls have an unlimited possibility of realities that creates various worlds within which they may live. I think the premise is very intriguing, and it carried me through reading this atmospheric novel written from 3rd person perspective. I’ve always found quantum theory fascinating. Unfortunately, the story was very dry and confusing at various points, making it hard to maintain interest and focus. The story jumps around in all these different versions of our reality, and I struggled to follow where, why, or who I was with at any given point. I prefer a more fast-paced, focused mystery and would gladly give up a bit of atmosphere to achieve that end. I also enjoyed that it is based on the actual case of Paula Jean Weldon, and it is a nice touch to aid in suspended disbelief. And the psychic abilities of the main character, Mary, were both compelling and confusing, but I didn’t need to be confused any more than I already was. If you are looking for a historical mystery mixed with the more sci-fi quantum theory and you are not easily confused, then Quantum Girl is just the kind of story you will want to sink your teeth into.